Monday, 25 October 2010

MRCP revision battle 34.4: Sodium valproate

Sodium valproate is a drug used in epilepsy.

It is a P450 inhibitor.

It has the highest risk of birth defects of any of the anti-epileptic drugs.

Sodium valproate also has an impressive plethora of unfortunate side effects which often appear in MRCP questions:
  • alopecia
  • nausea
  • gynaecomastia
  • weight gain
  • tremor
  • hepatitis
  • pancreatitis
  • tetratrogenic
  • ataxia
  • thrombocytopenia

As always with long lists of side effects its probable best to try and imprint on your mind a cartoon image of an unfortunate patient who is suffering from all of these side effects.   Personally I have a bald man who has big breasts and a fat, pregnant stomach, who is walking along in an ataxic way, covered in bruises (from his thrombocytopenia and crashing into things with his ataxic gait) while also vomiting and pointing with his trembling fingers to his liver and pancreas.

On that pretty image, lets move on to battle 33.5...